The Chicago Tribune published an article about the practice of stop-and-frisk by the Chicago Police Department. The ACLU has long opposed such policies. In 2003, we represented Olympic Gold Medalist Shani Davis in a lawsuit challenging repeated stop-and-frisk searches by Chicago police. Currently, Chicago Police officers are encouraged to file a "contact card" for every stop they make.
Harvey Grossman, the longtime legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, described the department's storehouse of contact card records as a "civil libertarian's dilemma," calling it essentially a catalog of "suspicious characters" in the eyes of police.
The ACLU first learned about the department's use of contact cards after filing a federal civil rights lawsuit in 2003 on behalf of Olympic champion speedskater Shani Davis and three others who alleged unlawful stop-and-frisks by Chicago police. Realizing the database contained valuable numbers on the department's practices, the ACLU has filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests in recent years seeking information on the contact cards.